Turning Point in my Survival by Helen
Terris nee Elinka Cyderowicz
the Germans invaded Lida, and chased us out of our homes
and put us into a ghetto,
my parents made a deal with a Polish couple by the name of Krieger. The
friends and Mr. Krieger was a business associate of my father. I knew them both
well. They were childless. I was a lively little girl with blond hair. They would
hold me on their
laps and always made a fuss over me. My parents gave them a great deal of money
said that if anything happened to my mother and father, they would take care
of me and hide me.
Lida ghetto was liquidated in September of 1943, we were led in groups out of
the ghetto to the railroad station. As our group was being led to the railroad
my mother pushed me out and said "
Gei tzu Kriegeroven" ("Go to the Kriegers). I ran to their
house and told Mrs. Krieger that I came for safekeeping as she had promised. She started to
cry and said she was afraid that the Germans would kill her and her husband and I could not
stay there. I pleaded with her, saying I would stay in the attic or the basement or the
shed and nobody would know I was there. She still refused and I had to leave. I made my
way to the train station to look for my mother.
The train station was a scene of chaos.
People were milling about waiting to get on the train, a group of Germans armed with rifles
were standing and watching and herding everyone toward the train. I looked and looked, but
could not find my mother. Finally, I found a cousin,
Matle. Matle was a beautiful girl of
twenty. She said "
Elinka you come with us. We will find your mother later" and she took me
by the hand.
After a while, as we waited to get on the train, a man came up to me and said
Elinka, your mother ran away. She is not here" When I heard that I knew that
I had to get
away. I could not get on the train if my mother was not there.
Matle wouldn't let me go.
She said the Germans would shoot me if I tried to flee. She held my hand real
finally wrenched my hand away from hers and since I was very small I ran under
the train between the wheels. and got out on the other side.
I do not know the name of that man. I am not sure whether I knew him or not.
certainly knew my mother and me and he made sure that I knew that my mother got
it weren't for him, I would have gotten on the train and perished in the ovens
with the rest of my family.